Complaint over ‘suggestion’ Portsmouth councillor quit

Councillor Eleanor Scott
Councillor Eleanor Scott
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FORMER Liberal Democrat Eleanor Scott has made a formal complaint over her former boss after claiming the party sent out leaflets suggesting she is no longer a councillor.

Cllr Scott, independent ward member for Fratton, said the Lib Dems – led by Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson – distributed the Fratton Focus leaflet to about 5,000 homes.

15/5/2014 (MOL)''Members of the public listen to local politicians during The News Political Debate held at 1000 Lakeside on Thursday evening. ''Pictured is: The Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (141317-5977) PPP-140523-172358002

15/5/2014 (MOL)''Members of the public listen to local politicians during The News Political Debate held at 1000 Lakeside on Thursday evening. ''Pictured is: The Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (141317-5977) PPP-140523-172358002

She has complained to Portsmouth City Council’s monitoring officer Michael Lawther about Cllr Vernon-Jackson (pictured) as she said residents have contacted her believing the party political leaflet suggests she no longer serves the area.

But Cllr Gerald-Jackson told The News the leaflets wish her well and do refer to her as a councillor but direct residents to contact Lib Dem Cllr David Fuller with casework instead.

‘I wish to make a formal complaint about Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson,’ Cllr Scott wrote in her complaint.

‘Residents are understandably reading (the leaflet) as saying that I am no longer in the role that I was and that I have stepped away from carrying out case work in Fratton ward.

‘This is a false suggestion and one which in my view was made in a very cynical manner.’

The council may include a piece in Flagship, its own publication, explaining she is still a ward member.

But Cllr Gerald-Vernon Jackson has defended the leaflet.

He said: ‘It says the exact opposite – it describes Eleanor as a councillor.

‘I can’t see the problem, we’ve wished her well. I’ve said she had a commitment to Fratton.’

When asked why it suggested contacting David Fuller, he added: ‘It’s a Liberal Democrat leaflet paid for by Liberal Democrat councillors so of course it’s going to.’

Cllr Scott had wanted a letter to be sent to all Fratton residents explaining she is still a ward member.

City council leader Cllr Donna Jones said it would be inappropriate to spend residents’ cash on the letters.

But Cllr Jones said: ‘It’s yet another example of the Lib Dems’ bullying.

‘She serves the people of Fratton and has done for a number of years.’

As reported, Cllr Scott quit the Lib Dems earlier this year and is now an independent member on the council. She left over the party’s handling of the Mike Hancock scandal.

Mr Hancock, a former councillor and the current MP for Portsmouth South, was accused of sexual misconduct with a constituent.

He denied it but later admitted forging an inappropriate friendship with the female constituent.

The Lib Dems suspended him from the national party.

What was featured in the leaflet

Portsmouth Liberal Democrats have expressed their regret that Councillor Eleanor Scott has decided to leave the Liberal Democrats.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth Liberal Democrat group said: ‘I have always appreciated Eleanor’s very real commitment to Fratton.

‘We wish Eleanor well.

‘The Liberal Democrats will ensure that Fratton residents continue to have their views listened to and their priorities met.’

Fratton residents can get in contact with Councillor David Fuller if they have any concerns or if there is anything he can help them with.